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    Appalachian Power warns river users about increasing water levels


    June 1, 2022 - Emma Coleman The Roanoke Times

     

      Water levels on the New and Roanoke rivers could rise rapidly starting Tuesday and continue to fluctuate throughout the week due to increasing temperatures, Appalachian Power said.

      The power company has issued a warning to recreational river users downstream of two of it's hydroelectric dams: the Claytor Dam on the New River and the Leesville Dam on the Roanoke River near Altavista.

      The National Weather Service has predicted temperatures next week in the mid-80s to 90s. Appalachian Power has been told by PJM, the independent regional transmission organization that manages the electric grid in 13 states, that power generation may need to be increased at its hydroelectric plants to maintain the reliability of the regional electric grid.

      Water levels below Claytor Dam could increase up to two feet "in a matter of minutes," according to Appalachian Power. Water levels below Leesville Dam could increase as much as eight feet over a seven-hour period.

      George Porter, who oversees communications for Appalachian Power's hydro-operations, said the power company had little time after PJM's notification to alert the public.

      "Because of the short notice, we want to make the public aware now of the possibility water levels could increase suddenly and continue to fluctuate throughout the week," Porter said.

      The utility encourages those considering recreating on the rivers in the coming week to monitor American Electric Power's website for more information.

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